Blue Wild Indigo
Blue Wild Indigo is also called Blue False Indigo, Rattleweed, Rattlebush, Indigo Weed, Horse Fly Weed and scientifically it is known as Baptisia australis. This plant is of the pea family, and is perennial and grows throughout eastern and central parts of North America. In the wild it grows on open rocky woodlands, prairies having black mesic soil, and also alongside rivers where it is rocky.
Blue Wild Indigo plant is known to grow up to a height of 5 feet, but generally it has a height of around 3 feet. Its spread is about 2 to 3 feet. The roots of this plant go deep into the soil and have a network of branches. The plant is stands erect and the top half of the plant has multiple branches. The stem is hairless and secretes a sap when broken. The leaves of the Blue Wild Indigo are trifoliate and alternatively arranged. They have a greyish green color and have leaflets whose shape is obovate, which means thinner in width at the base and becomes broader towards the top.
Flowers and Fruits
Blue Wild Indigo has exceptionally showy flowers, in colors ranging from light shades of blue to deeper tones of violet. Their shape is the typical pea type, and appear on spikes which bear only the flowers. They are about an inch in length and are in bloom from the months of April to the end of August. The fruit looks like an inflated pod and comes in sizes ranging from an inch to 3 inches. They have an oblong shape and taper to a fine point at the top, and have a bluish black color. When fully mature the fruit is filled with many seeds which are loose inside. The seeds have a kidney shape and are tiny having a light brown color.
Blue Wild Indigo has lots of medicinal properties. The use of it as a medicine should be under the supervision of a qualified person, as the plant is toxic. The different extracts of the plant are used as antiseptics, purgatives and as an anti-catarrhal medicine. It is used also as a stimulant to get an immune response for infections in the ear, throat and nose region. The infusion made from its root was drunk as a tea by the Native Americans as a purgative. As an anti-inflammatory treatment, a poultice of the root was applied on the affected area, and a piece of root was put in the mouth to heal a toothache. Stems of the plant, are used to make a decoction to cure ailments like influenza and pneumonia. Apart from this the plant is used in gardens because of its decorative flowers.
Blue Wild Indigo grows best in rocky soil which is not too alkaline, and is loamy. The plant requires a lot of sun, and medium moisture in the soil. You need to water it only in dry months, but also care should be taken not to water it too often. The plant can be grown any time of the year as it is not much affected by the cold.